THE Mornington Peninsula had more businesses relying on the federal government’s JobKeeper program throughout the COVID-19 pandemic than any other Victorian municipality.
From September, 59.2 per cent of peninsula businesses were being supported by the program – the third highest number in Australia.
At the peak of the downturn in August 2205 “local” jobs were lost.
In the wake of those statistics Mornington Peninsula Shire has decided to spend more than $10 million on helping the community recover from the economic and social effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
Nepean MP Chris Brayne said while the peninsula’s economy was “certainly hit hard last year, we have already begun to see the signs of economic recovery after a really good summer”.
“The council’s decision to spend this money on further recovery efforts is absolutely the right one,” Mr Brayne said.
“This is not the time for austerity measures, or for cutting services or spending. [This year] is for building back our peninsula after the difficulty of last year.”
The shire’s COVID-19 community recovery grants program unveiled at the Tuesday 20 April council meeting was one of a suite of spending programs aimed at providing relief for businesses and speeding their recovery.
In December, councillors deferred the annual community grants program and redirected the remainder of the flexi-grants budget, about $276,000, be spent on COVID-19 relief and recovery.
The COVID-19 relief (quick response) grants register closed in March after all money was allocated to 18 applicants.
There were 33 applications for February’s COVID-19 community recovery grants program, with 28 being recommended for acceptance, including three for conditional funding. Two applications were not recommended and three were ineligible under the program’s guidelines.
The assessment panel recommended $185,773 be provided for the recommended projects which left a surplus of $61,577.
Among the successful community groups and clubs were Merricks Pony Club ($9240 to replace equipment and continue its community education program for teenagers and children); Spark Youth Dance Company ($5000 for its “reimagined” first season of dance works); Rosebud Wannaeue Place mural and youth workshops ($10,000 for a mural that “showcases the ocean through the eyes of youth”); Friends of Fusion ($10,000 for its annual fundraising dinner); Nina.9 ($10,000 for an animated pop musical series); Red Hill Riders Mountain Bike Club ($4000 for a female enduro gravity event); and Sorrento Portsea Senior Citizens Centre ($10,000 for a members’ theatre group and performance); Southern Buoy Studio ($900 annual landscape exhibition); Rosebud Italian Club ($4550 for annual flag-raising ceremony and lunch); and $10,000 for Josie Jones’ Mind Your Own Bin campaign.